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Friday, January 23, 2015

The Top 10 Most Mispronounced Sanskrit Words

Meeting Nicolai Bachman for the first time at the Texas Yoga Conference years ago, I was struck by his confidence, knowledge and warmth. He was one of the most accessible and humble speakers there.

I am honored to be co-hosting a retreat with Nicolai July 9-12, 2015 in Santa Fe, New Mexico where we will dive into the yoga sutras, enjoy yoga and the beautiful mountains that surround us. Nicolai will teach 10 of his favorite and most practical Yoga Sutras, including their context, ways of interpreting, and sharing his own experience with them and how they can be applied to personal practices everyday. 

Here's a little sampling of Nicolai's expertise from an article I did with him.



More details for the retreat & to secure your spot (limited to 12 people): Register here

Friday, January 9, 2015

365 days of gratitude via snail mail

Almost 2 years ago, I started "365 days of gratitude via snail mail 
to extraordinarily beautiful souls” and documented the letters on Instagram.  
What is snail mail? I have been asked this question by a few folks just 
a bit younger than me, so perhaps it’s worth clarifying that it's a hand 
written letter received via your post box.
I’m 635 days into this project that I wanted to complete in a year. 
Frustrated with my inability to keep up, I felt like quitting many times. 
No one would notice an unfinished project that I’m not really accountable 
to anyone but myself. Abandoning the project would be the easy thing to do.
However, I am pretty stubborn and determined to conclude before 
the 2 year mark. What keeps me going? There’s something to be said for quality. 
I’d rather take more time to finish with perseverance than rush through 
it just to say I did it. Besides, I get so much joy out of writing letters. 
Takes me back to when my grandmothers would send me letters in 
their beautiful cursive handwriting telling me about nothing really: 
the weather, errands they would run or bits of family news.

There is also something sweet about sitting down with my coffee 

in the morning, sun shining through my sheer living room curtains 
and telling someone how much they have impacted my life.

In fact, I’d like to tell you, too, how much I have appreciated your 

support from across the miles. If you haven’t gotten a letter from 
me or want another one, please reply with your postal mailing address. 
I get a chuckle every time I ask someone for their address and 
they send me their email rather than postal address. 
Doesn’t anyone write by hand anymore? 

from Day 285: Rose Silva: a nurturing and caring soul who is pioneering sustainable yoga in her corner of Texas. Thank you for your loving and kind spirit. | 365 days of gratitude via snail mail to extraordinarily beautiful souls.

Is there something you started last year that you thought that you lost the energy or excitement to finish? Why not let this be your year to do it. Begin today. That’s all you have anyway, today. As the day unfolds, can you be present in it? Let that good, unhurried unfolding teach, heal, restore, encourage and direct you to specific and heartfelt thankfulness.


May 2015 be filled with joy, good health, love and omission of everything unnecessary revealing only what matters most. Let’s just do that, what matters most. 


This is from my latest yoga newsletter that is emailed about once a month, 
if you're interested in keeping up via your in-box, please sign up.

Friday, January 2, 2015

BirdWings



"Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror
up to where you’re bravely working.
Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,
here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.
Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
if it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralyzed.
Your deepest presence is in every small contracting
and expanding,
The two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
as birdwings." ~ Rumi
I often find myself running through life airport to airport, my efforts spilling out in areas that I don't have to. Can I accept contracting so that my energy is reserved for things that matter most? 
Break open the joy inside. Peel away the loss and make obvious to me what others say they see: the grace and confidence that inhabits my own birdwings. 
Expansion is allowing my heart to be laid bare. Bravely examining the past as lessons so that next time, it's no longer a lesson but a choice. And in those choices I hope to be confident, as I recover from insecurities that have built up residue around my convictions. 
Leaning into aloneness and allowing for deep presence is preparing me for the next phase. A return to love within.
May 2015 be filled with that joy, good health, love and the omission of everything unnessary revealing only what matters most.  


Image: Georgia O'Keeffe | A Black Bird with Snow-Covered Red Hills


Monday, December 8, 2014

Gratitude Journal: Day 16-30, on love




The last 15 days of the gratitude journaling I had a lot of extra time without Internet to hand write in my personal diary, reflect and renew, catch another stomach virus, teach and practice yoga, read and cycle in the rain, fellowship in community, and be still. 

In the stillness my ears rang with new clarity. The extra sleep, lack of computer time and encouraging environment fostered some deep healing. Gratitude lists were extensive and varied throughout my adventurous 2 weeks. Doodle-filled inventories of frivolousness appreciation for things like nightshade vegetables and blue white and yellow butterflies, but also significant entries such as encounters with the prepossessing souls and an experience on Monkey Rock overlooking the valley below where I felt veritable Oneness (Samadhi) that was unexplainable. I simply wrote: ONE in all caps. It took my breath away.   

Gratitude just might be the reason I hold out so much hope and positivity for the future. Not all of life is easy to be grateful for. There was this virus that knocked me out for more than 2 days and still, I had to teach. However, there is always a thread of brilliance weaving things intricately together that isn't visible at the time. 

Two women come to mind whom I am deeply grateful for. Vastly differently, they both exemplify living yoga to me. Each overcoming great barriers in their lives but doing so with grace, integrity and by pulling up others around them rather than pushing them down. I am infatuated with their giving spirits and excited to have forged strong new friendships with them. 

One of the women inspired this journal entry from Day 9 of my trip... 


Sometimes we have to move away from that which we love the most. Love then seeps into areas untouched, melting hardened boulders strategically placed around the heart. A lifetime of experiences may twist and shape us but cannot contain us once we have pulled our heart out, exposed and free of shame or fear. Love returns us to our true home within. 
Love returned. 


*A note about 30 days of gratitude. 

Just, thank you for being a part of it either by reading or sharing your own thankfulness. If you didn't, go ahead, try it. I'm pretty sure it will significantly alter... something within you. Give it some time to stew and then taste how good it feels. 

In joy, 

Mel

Friday, November 14, 2014

Day 15: Gratitude Journal, the song of my soul through poetry



"A poet's work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep." Salman Rushdie.
Today, I am grateful for the written word. When I sit to write and no words come which is frequent, there is always Yoga. Movement. Breath. Music. Words. I covet inspiration that I get from the written word. Addicted to self study and spiritual understanding... poetry reaches a part of me that other methods simply cannot.  

Poetry brings to life what is hidden beneath the layers of my protective heart, expressing songs that my soul sings. Offering comfort and a familiarity that I cannot often convey articulately, I am instantly transported to a moment in my life where I stood just where the author did. I can feel his empathy. Together, we dance and move in and between the words strung together as if it was exclusively for me. To me.

Rumi is stirring but if you're getting all your inspiration from him, the Dali Lama, Mary Oliver, or Hafiz on Facebook, then you're missing out on some of the lesser known, most influential writings of our time. These poets explore love, lust, the meaning of life and even details that you'd swear gave them a voyeuristic view into your own life. 


Feast on the words of these inspirational poets. (#3 on this list is my personal favorite.)

1. Randall Mann, author of Complaint in the Garden (2004), winner of the Kenyon Review Prize in Poetry writes with brave vulnerability. In response to critics who say that his openly gay references in his writings are bold, Mann responds, “If tenderness between two men is radical—and I suppose it is—then the shameful world needs a new radicalism.”

Bernard Hill


Something has to give.
We stand above it all.
Below, the buildings' tall
but tiny narrative.


The water's always near,
you say. And so are you,
for now. It has to do.
There's little left to fear.


A wind so cold, one might
forget that winter's gone.
The city lights are on
for us, to us, tonight.

2. Richard Blanco, the youngest, and one of only 6 poets in history to share poetry at the president's inaugural address. 


3. David Whyte, writes with clarity, sensitivity and depth that pricks at my heart with every single poem. I am anxiously awaiting his new book. 

FORGIVENESS

is a heartache and difficult to achieve because strangely, the act of forgiveness not only refuses to eliminate the original wound, but actually draws us closer to its source. To approach forgiveness is to close in on the nature of the hurt itself, the only remedy being, as we approach its raw center, to reimagine our relation to it.

It may be that the part of us that was struck and hurt can never forgive, and that forgiveness itself never arises from the part of us that was actually wounded. The wounded self may be the part of us incapable of forgetting, and perhaps, not meant to forget…stranger still, it is that wounded, branded, un-forgetting part of us that eventually makes forgiveness an act of compassion rather than one of simple forgetting.

Forgiveness is a skill, a way of preserving clarity, sanity and generosity in an individual life, a beautiful question and a way of shaping the mind to a future we want for ourselves; an admittance that if forgiveness comes through understanding, and if understanding is just a matter of time and application then we might as well begin forgiving right at the beginning of any drama, rather than put ourselves through the full cycle of festering, incapacitation, reluctant healing and eventual blessing.

…at the end of life, the wish to be forgiven is ultimately the chief desire of almost every human being. In refusing to wait; in extending forgiveness to others now, we begin the long journey of becoming the person who will be large enough, able enough and generous enough to receive, at our very end, that necessary absolution ourselves.

Excerpted from ‘FORGIVENESS’ From the upcoming book of essays CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words. ©2014 David Whyte


Who would you add to this list? 


Join 30 days of Radical Gratitude and Love and write your own poem or stanza or simply one word that is the song of your heart today. 

Day 14: Gratitude Journal, whole and healing.

This week held 5 doctors visits and 2 dentist  (combined for me and both sons). How quickly things swivel-- all well one moment- then something that seems so minor takes you down. Everyone is mending nicely at the moment, thanks for wondering. 

Grateful for...

our heath, oh so darn grateful.
perspective and to not take my body's well being for granted. 
bonus time with the boys. oh, how each moment is a gift. 

May your life be filled with endless reminders of the fragile line we walk between well and unwell, whole and healing. Keep your head up, dear ones. Keep your heart strong


30 Days of Radical Gratitude and Love. Why wait? Join us for the next 15 days and see how it's magic works to raise your spirits, bring you joy and puts a smile on those around you. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Day 13: Gratitude Journal, serendipitous encounters with greatness, better known as just showing up.

Show up… we keep moving forward by purely showing up in all of life. Not getting it perfect.. but by getting it done. 

I once heard someone share the secret of success in 2 words: right decisions. How do you know you've made right decisions? 1 word: experience. How do you gain experience? 2 words: wrong decisions.

When it comes to getting the work done- just do it. Putting things off waiting for just the right inspiration or for the moment to be flawless wastes precious time because circumstances will never be perfect.

Next, let go. Open to whatever may come. That is allowing  for serendipity, "the effect by which on accidentally stumbles upon something fortunate especially while looking for something entirely unrelated." 

I am grateful to be a decisive person who still reserves the right after making some wrong decisions, to change my mind. It's in the trial and error of life that I have navigated not the straightest path to what I love but the most interesting of paths. This path has been paved with tears, sweat, juggling elves, miles and miles of ocean between 2 continents of families and friends that I love, precious time with kids and restorative time away from my kids, lost love and gained self love, enlarged perspective, enduring friendships that span the world and joy in the most un-looked, serendipitous for places. 



life + showing up - doing too much + thankful heart = serendipitous encounters with greatness 


Join us for 30 days of Radical Gratitude and Love. Seriously, it's not too late. I'm not kidding, join us now. Could be something serendipitous in it for you.